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Outback Travel

Outback Queensland can be accessed by air, rail and road, Once you arrive, the well maintained highways and roads (mostly sealed) that connect the towns make travelling through the region easier than most would think.

See information about plane, train, bus and self-drives here.

When travelling on the main routes, the majority of the roads are sealed and in good condition and can be travelled on by a regular vehicle. Even unsealed roads can generally be used by a regular vehicle.

If you are concerned we suggest you call or visit one a local Visitor Information Centre.

The majority of the roads in Outback Queensland, when travelling between towns, are sealed and in good condition. They can be easily travelled in a regular car without the need for a 4WD vehicle.

If you are looking to go off the beaten track, into National Parks or across the Simpson Desert you may need a 4WD. Check with a local Visitor Information Centre for details.

Yes, you certainly can.

QANTAS operates direct flights into Queensland’s Outback from Brisbane and Townsville.

Rex Airlines has flights into the region from Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns, as well as flights within the region. Large towns generally have hire car options, but check with the town or company in question.


  • Brisbane to: Barcaldine, Blackall, Charleville, Longreach, Mount Isa, Roma
  • Townsville to: Cloncurry, Mount Isa


Towns include:
Bedourie, Boulia, Birdsville, Cunnamulla, Charleville, Mount Isa, Quilpie, Windorah, Thargomindah, Hughenden, Julia Creek, Longreach, Richmond and Winton.

On the main routes, it is rare to drive more than 2-3 hours without passing through a town.

The services available vary in each town so it is important to check before you begin a drive to ensure you have everything you need and find out where the next petrol station or general store will be.

You can also see the distance between towns on our Outback Travel Distances page.

It is important that you remain alert at all times when driving through the outback. Along with kangaroos, you may encounter emus, echidnas, lizards, wedge-tailed eagles and other birdlife.

Night driving is possible, but not recommended for travellers who are new to the region.

Road hazards are more difficult to see and kangaroos are more active at dawn, dusk, and throughout the night.

Driving at night increases the risk of fatigue, not to mention you’ll miss the beautiful countryside going by! If you must drive at night ensure your headlights are working properly.

If your vehicle does not have a bull-bar, drive behind someone who does, like a mate or a road train, so any surprise damage from kangaroos is minimised.

Always take snacks and extra water for the journey, as well as a spare tyre and map.

Good to have (but not necessary):

  • A satellite-phone or Telstra mobile
  • Jerry can of spare fuel

Autogas (LPG) is only available for purchase in Mount Isa, Emerald and Roma.

While Outback Queensland is experiencing drought, there is plenty of water to cater for the needs of visitors, so nobody will be short of a drink or shower.

Many towns are located on the Great Artesian Basin, which provides water for the day-to-day needs of residents and visitors.

RACQ services Outback Queensland and can be contacted on 13 19 05.

You’ll find mobile coverage in most towns with the Telstra network. Other networks have limited coverage. Coverage is limited but improving on roads between towns, so you may wish to use a satellite phone.

There is limited mobile phone coverage in the far South West corner of the region, west of Quilpie to Bedourie.

Public phones are available in all towns, and satellite phones are recommended for extended travel in this area.

Read more on our Outback Communication page

Check out our itineraries section for road trip and holiday ideas.

Yes, though most require a 4WD and a permit.

For facilities and activities permitted in each park, visit the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing website.

Outback Weather

Outback Queensland’s most popular time to travel is between March and October due to the cooler temperatures.

Summer temperatures in Outback Queensland are usually 35-40°C, however some towns can experience temperatures higher than this in Summer.

Find out more on our  Travellers Tips page.

You should also check the current Queensland Weather via the Bureau of Meteorology.

December to February is the general time frame for the wet season in Outback Queensland.

Holidays and Accommodation

A week is a good amount of time to explore the North-, Central- or South-West regions, though you are very welcome to linger as long as little as you like.

Whether you’re driving yourself, catching a bus, train or plane or travelling on a tour, in a week you can cover one region but it can take a couple to cover the whole Queensland Outback.

Find out more on our itineraries page

Outback Queensland offers a variety of accommodation options, ranging from free camping, powered camping grounds with amenities, cabins, backpacker accommodation and quality bed and breakfasts and motels.

Farm stays are also available to get an authentic outback cattle station experience.

Find out more on our accommodation page

As accommodation options can be limited in some towns, it is always advisable to pre-book accommodation at least one week prior to arrival to ensure availability.

During major events or festivals, accommodation can book out months in advance.

Find out more on our accommodation page

Majority of towns in Outback Queensland have caravan parks with powered sites.
Double-check with a local Visitor Information Centre if you’re in doubt.

There are a selection of station stays and station and farm experiences across the region.

See our tours or check the farm stays section under our accommodation listings  if you are looking for an overnight stay.

Yes, and it’s easier than you might think.
If you’re driving yourself it generally adds extra travel time, but the flexibility of your own vehicle is generally a bonus.

Weekend trips into Outback  Queensland are easiest driving from Brisbane, Rockhampton or Townsville.

Flying and hiring a vehicle is popular for those who like the flexibility of a vehicle but want to cut out the extra travel time.

You can also see the region by tours to reduce the potential stress of driving. Tours are available from the coast or once you arrive in-region.

You can find out about upcoming and annual events in Outback Queensland here.

After more info?
Contact the local Visitor Information Centre to see what’s happening in town during your stay.

Other Frequent Questions

If camping outside a town, be aware that most roads run through private property. Open fires should not be lit on private property or in National Parks.

Use only designated fireplaces at campgrounds.

Yes, Outback Queensland is pet-friendly.
It is recommended to call ahead at accommodation and camping ground to check their pet policy, or to request a pet-friendly room.

Keep in mind that pets are not allowed in National Parks.

Almost all towns have a health centre, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service takes emergency patients from remote locations to necessary hospitals – either in region or to larger facilities on the coast.

Businesses and locals generally have comprehensive First Aid Kits, but it is recommended to carry a small one your vehicle.

Locate hospitals and health centres by region here.

Most backpackers can find work at pubs in town, as station hands or au pairs on properties.